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This Blessed Plot summary

Hugo Young

Britain and Europe From Churchill to Blair

4.1 (41 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

This Blessed Plot by Hugo Young is a thorough analysis of British politics in the 20th century. It explores key events, leaders, and policies that shaped the country's trajectory, highlighting the tension between tradition and modernity.

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    This Blessed Plot
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    Britain’s post-war relationship with continental Europe got off to a shaky start.

    Britain was in a unique position at the end of WWII: They were the only European power that had successfully defended its land from Nazi invasion, and they used this position to help liberate the rest of the continent from fascist rule.

    Winston Churchill, eager to prevent future catastrophes, saw the unification of Europe as a way to accomplish this.

    The war, Churchill recognized, was caused in large part by the divided state of Europe. He hoped that the old rivalries between these nations could be extinguished if they were all united, both economically and politically.

    In fact, he’d been dreaming of a unified Europe since 1930, when he published an article calling for a “United States of Europe.”

    In 1946, Churchill carried that dream to Zürich, where he gave a major speech that highlighted his ideas to the rest of the continent.

    The first step in his plan called for a Council of Europe, which wouldn’t interfere with national sovereignty but instead act as a forum to help kickstart the process of deepening ties between European nations.

    French and German leaders were particularly receptive to this plan and it inspired them to continue working together.

    Churchill, however, having lost the general election to the Labour Party in 1945, was unable to put his European plan to work in the Britain.

    The Labour Party opposed the “European supranationalism” of Churchill’s plan, preferring a more international – rather than regional – approach to European policy-making. This broader approach included the creation of NATO and providing economic aid to Europe through the American-led Marshall Plan.

    Over the next few years, Britain continued to oppose plans for further European integration. So, France and West Germany moved on without them and, in 1950, they formed the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

    The ECSC acted as a common market that also included Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. By joining the ECSC, these nations gave up some sovereign powers to a supranational European authority, making the ECSC the first version of what would later become the modern European Union.

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    What is This Blessed Plot about?

    Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that Britain sees itself as distinct from the rest of Europe. For instance, they use the pound instead of the euro and do not take part in the EU free travel zone. But how did Britain’s relationship with Europe end up like this? That’s what This Blessed Plot (1998) is all about. It explains that, since WWII, Britain has had a conflicted relationship with the European project, filled with negotiations and exemptions. With the “Brexit” now on everyone’s mind, find out more about this complicated history and what it might be able to tell us about Britain’s future.

    This Blessed Plot Review

    This Blessed Plot (1998) by Hugo Young is a book that offers a captivating exploration of British politics and the constitutional changes that have shaped the country. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • The author's meticulous research and extensive knowledge provide an insightful analysis of key political events throughout history.
    • Featuring in-depth interviews with prominent figures, the book offers a unique behind-the-scenes perspective on political decision-making and its consequences.
    • The book's engaging narrative style keeps readers hooked, making even complex political issues accessible and fascinating.

    Best quote from This Blessed Plot

    We must recreate the European family in a regional structure called, as it may be, the United States of Europe. - Winston Churchill

    —Hugo Young
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    Who should read This Blessed Plot?

    • Anyone interested in the “Brexit” referendum
    • Political junkies
    • Students of modern European history

    About the Author

    Hugo Young was a British author and acclaimed journalist whose work appeared regularly in The Sunday Times and The Guardian. His other books include One of Us, an award-winning biography of Margaret Thatcher. He died in 2003.

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    This Blessed Plot FAQs 

    What is the main message of This Blessed Plot?

    The main message of This Blessed Plot is an exploration of the British political landscape from 1997 to 2010.

    How long does it take to read This Blessed Plot?

    The reading time for This Blessed Plot can vary, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is This Blessed Plot a good book? Is it worth reading?

    This Blessed Plot is worth reading for its insightful analysis of British politics and its impact on modern society.

    Who is the author of This Blessed Plot?

    Hugo Young is the author of This Blessed Plot.

    What to read after This Blessed Plot?

    If you're wondering what to read next after This Blessed Plot, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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